March 30, 2011

i-drill 12-Volt Impact Driver and Flashlight - Review

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A number of years ago, we read a book by Virginia Postrel called, The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce, Culture, & Consciousness. It's a good book and in it she talks about how, in a more and more diversified culture, the look and feel of something is plays an expanded role in purchasing decisions. Why are we talking about this? Because right now we're looking at an impact driver that no carpenter we know would ever use. But at the same time, it's an impact driver that would be happily be purchased by someone who likes things that look all kinds of clean and sleek and Steve Jobsy.

As you've already surmised, i-drill was nice enough to send us a couple more items to test out (we reviewed their 12-volt drill/driver here) and this time we're going to look at their impact driver and LED Flashlight. As with most of our reviews, we simply put the tools in the rotation and used them when we could. As it turned out, we're in the middle of a room renovation, so these two items got a good workout. Here's what we thought...

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The impact driver is nice. It's pretty small, which is good and it's powerful enough so that we could sink the occasional 3" screw. The battery style, and really the style of the whole tool, draws from the Bosch/Makita lineage with the li-ion cylinder battery that sits up in the handle. This makes for a larger handle and even though it's not uncomfortable, we much prefer the Dewalt/Hitachi thin handles as far as ergonomics go.

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The impact driver has a three light battery indicator (a great feature) and an LED which shines from just above the trigger. It also comes with all of the international plug adapters so it can be used, according to i-drill, in 99% of the countries in the world. We're not sure how this benefits the dude who lives in a Manhattan apartment, but it's there.

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The flashlight is pretty slick. It's got a hinged head so you can direct the light and a wide lens, so the beam is big and bright. Tucked under the head is a little metal loop which makes it easy to hang the light on a nail or a hook. It's funny, but it seems like a trend for these new 12-volt lines to all have super cool flashlights. Check out the DeWalt or the Milwaukee.

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Like we were getting at earlier, these tools are all about the aesthetic. You either like it or you don't. From the people we've talked to, city-folks like it, carpenters....not so much. But that's OK, because we're pretty sure that the line isn't geared towards chain-smoking, Dunkin' Donuts drinking 30 year carpenters. They've got their brands and they're not going to get no i-drill nohow. But with these tools, the non-construction crowd now has something that won't look out of place next to their computers, kindles, nooks, blackberries, androids, and iphones.

Impact Driver $130 at i-drill

Flashlight ($30 - no battery or charger) at i-drill

Read More in: All Reviews | Cordless | Lithium-Ion

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at March 30, 2011 6:24 AM

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Recent Comments

I don't think this product represents good design. It's a lazy marketing exercise to mashup the "i-anything" cliché with the "white like Apple" cliché. The white color certainly befits a fastidious metrosexual kind of project, and the best thing about the flashlight is that it accessorizes the ensemble so well.


Posted by: BJN at March 31, 2011 4:07 PM
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